(Welcome everyone to the very first episode of “Counter-Coup!”, a YouTube series where I comment on topical issues in the pop culture world; today’s episode concerns Wonder Woman and the fallacious thinking behind the film’s lead star Gal Gadot. Be sure to subscribe here or on our YouTube channel to catch all the episodes; leave some comments below if you liked it. Peace.)
The Not So Wonderful Zionist Woman
Peeps and people welcome to the first ever web-vid of the Pop Culture Coup; I am our host, [College Kid Supreme].
Beginnings are a furtive thing—one doesn’t know how something will end so how can you really know how to begin? Take, for example, Trump: liberals galore believed Trump’s ascendency to be no less awful than a bathless Otaku who consistency pesters you on the subway about his Waifu; yet, Trump’s mundane reality turned out to be little more of a nuisance, a lapsed Weeaboo, an angsty Bush.
So, I decided to take a direct approach and just become a sell-out immediately: gone is the never-existent deep-criticisms on art and here instead is the cash-cow of the here and now. Ladies, gentlemen, non-binary Folx, let’s talk about Wonder Woman.
Now, full disclosure: I have not seen the Wonder Woman movie; this video, then, is not a review. This video instead will be tackling that thorn in the film’s side, namely, how the lead actress, Gal Gadot, is a fascist-apologizing piece of shit.
As many, many outlets have reported, a controversy erupted when a Facebook post from Gadot’s past surfaced. Posted during the 2014 incursion into Gaza, the Independent reports that Gadot said, among other gems, “I am sending my love and prayers to… all the boy and girls who are risking their lives to protect my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas”. Gadot then went on to slander Hamas by insisting they used children as human shields, a spurious claim at best, especially considering that Israeli troops regularly use Palestinian teens as human shields as they conduct their ethnic cleansing operations. Though Hamas may, in fact, be your typical bourgeois nationalists, it does no one any better to reverse the facts.
Thankfully, many people took to Twitter to oppose Gadot’s asinine support of Israeli fascism. Considering that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement against this terrorist state has, to the chagrin of Israeli’s genocidal, racist apologists, picked up in recent years, this is not surprising. More and more people are seeing settler-colonialism for what it is: trash.
But, as always, the ever-brave Centrist wing of popular culture rose to pick up the underappreciated “Moderate’s Torch” and remind people that “it’s just a movie”. Commentators such as “Ampersand” from Alas: A Blog, spoke of how they didn’t “want a society in which we automatically boycott people because they’ve taken the other side of current controversies” and how at the end of the day, “There are always going to be disagreements in society”. Ampersand is missing the point.
Other than acting as a lowkey form of imperialistic apologia, centrism like Ampersand’s misses the entire point of society—that nothing is sacred or justified by nature of its being. Civilization, in other words, is not fair; civilization isn’t fair because civilization is politicized.
To take a centrist stance and believe that a film, or any kind of artistic text, should purely be judged based on its merits, enables critics to woefully ignore its ideological function. As Salon contributor, Matthew Rozsa remarked, “super-hero movies have become increasingly political”
“Wonder Woman” doesn’t strive merely tell a fanciful story about ancient Greek gods in the modern world; it is also a harrowing account of the terrible human tragedy wrought by a war caused by nationalism run amok. When audiences see this movie and praise it for its progressive politics, they need to remember that there is a stark disconnect separating the message that the filmmakers seem to intend (namely, that zealous nationalism leads to unnecessary bloodshed) and the one seemingly supported by its leading star.
To shove aside the authorial intentions—even in an age when the “Author has Died”—amounts to a legitimation of surface reading, a crude intellectual current highly respected by neo-reactionaries and teenage wannabees alike since it enables a closed reading ripe for historical and ideological misrepresentation. The simple truth is that a text must be read alongside its authorial intent and carefully weighed, judged, deconstructed, and considered; what is “intended” by the text should be thought of in tandem with what the text betrays or legitimates through use of certain concepts, motifs, and, yes, in this example, actors.
The fact of the matter is this: Palestinians have called for a boycott of the film; Gal Gadot’s military service was, yes, mandatory, but, as Michael Brewer-Berres remarks in an article for The Odyssey “[Israelis] do have a choice in supporting their country in the unnecessary killings and bombings of another country.” And Gal Gadot clearly supports the merciless bombing of innocent Palestinians. This, then, was not something forced on her: she served her required time and then openly and willingly supported the wholesale slaughter of Palestinians while “sending positive vibes”, as the weak-limped phrase goes, to the cowardly Israeli stormtroopers.
Gadot, then, has made a conscience decision. To try and water down that decision by demarcating the message of the film and the lead actor’s beliefs, is to dishonor not only feminism but more importantly, the victims of imperialism. It is as Wear Your Voice magazine’s Lara Witt maintains:
This movie wasn’t made with all women in mind, it’s for the women who can ignore certain atrocities which don’t directly affect them. Your children are safe, their bodies aren’t being policed by soldiers, their schools haven’t been bombed, the hospitals they lay in don’t have bullet holes in the walls, their water supplies haven’t been cut, their electricity isn’t regularly shut off by another government.
If all of this teaches us anything, then it is that Wonder Woman is a film for the minority. What minority, you may ask? The same minority always making trouble and pushing fascism—White Supremacy.
Over on Afro Punk, Hari Ziyad remarked on the film that “even ignoring Gadot’s support of the brutal occupation of Palestine, Wonder Woman is liberal white supremacist propaganda”. Going on to then deconstruct the racial tokenism of the film, she concludes that “this is the type of care which allows genocidal tendencies to be reduced to mere flaws”. As a real world example, Ziyad posits Hillary Clinton as the point of triumph for this rancid belief; this is absolutely true and was why Clinton supporters buried their head in the sand at her sordid history of violence. Ultimately, “Liberalism is okay with the same type of white supremacist logic that Diana espoused, which is why the liberals behind the film cast a supremacist in the leading role.”
To say that Zionism has ruined Wonder Woman is an overstatement. In this particular incarnation, Zionism has wrought damage and havoc, but it has not wholly soiled Princess Diana.
An article over at Peoples World by Lowell B. Denny the Third, remarks that Princess Diana “was no damsel in distress. She was a potent icon whose imagery alluded much to earlier suffragist writings”. Indeed, the early Wonder Woman comics were filled with feminist, anti-militarist content; the author, William Moulton Marston, was a radical intellectual who openly lived with several women. He associated with anti-capitalist organizations and didn’t “play ball” with academic normalcy. Ultimately, Denny concludes that
All in all, unlike contemporary comics of the 1940s, Wonder Woman has to be placed within the radical tendencies of the often-overlooked post-WWI period and the men and women who were agitating and organizing for real, anti-militarist, anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal change. This is why we should never dismiss those first-wave feminists for their lack of racial diversity. Of course, we can’t ignore it either. But the breadth of their efforts includes long-lasting institutions, like Planned Parenthood, and pop-icons, like Wonder Woman. These contributions deserve study and our appreciation.
Although the contemporary bourgeoisie is hellbent on re-articulating Wonder Woman to act as an imperialist-fascist cipher, we must remember that revolutionary past. We must contextualize Princess Diana’s exploits, remember why she originated, and re-contextualize her today while understanding that for all the bad, there was good. To simply whitewash her for use in anti-Palestinian discourse, it not merely reactionary, it is counterrevolutionary.
All right, people, that is it for now. We have run out of time.
Thank you so much for listening in on our very first episode. I hope you will join us next time when we tackle another exciting topic and help beat back the insidious bourgeois pop culture coup.
See you then!
Selby, Jenn. “Wonder Woman Gal Gadot on Israel-Gaza: Israeli actress’s pro-IDF stance causes controversy.” The Independent, www.independent.co.uk/news/people/wonder-woman-gal-gadot-on-israel-gaza-israeli-actresss-pro-idf-stance-causes-controversy-9643412.html. Accessed 11 June 2017.
“Israeli High court: Israeli Soldiers Used Palestinians as Human Shields 1,200 Times.” Washington’s Blog, www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/israeli-high-court-israeli-soldiers-used-human-shields-1200-times-2006-2011.html. Accessed 11 June 2017.
“UN: Palestinian Children Tortured, Used as Human Shields by Israel.” Haaretz, www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.530993. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Pappe, Ilan. “Palestine 2007: Genocide in Gaza, Ethnic Cleansing in the West Bank.” Electronic Intifada, www.electronicintifada.net/content/palestine-2007-genocide-gaza-ethnic-cleansing-west-bank/6673. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Haddad, Mohammed. “Ethnic Cleansing.” Al Jazeera, www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2015/05/ethnic-cleansing-palestine-150514130231067.html. Accessed 11 June 2017.
“’Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Attacked for Being ‘Zionist’ on Twitter.” Haaretz, www.haaretz.com/israel-news/culture/1.734044. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Ampersand. “Brief note on Gal Gadot’s Zionism and the Wonder Woman movie.” Alas! A Blog, www.amptoons.com/blog/?p=22097. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Rozsa, Matthew. “The confused, confusing nationalism behind ‘Wonder Woman’.” Salon, www.salon.com/2017/06/05/wonder-woman-gal-gadot-israeli-nationalism-facebook-post/. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Vivarelli, Nick. “’Wonder Woman’ Banned in Lebanon Due to Israeli Lead Gal Gadot.” Variety, www.variety.com/2017/film/global/wonder-woman-banned-lebanon-gal-gadot-israeli-1202448666/. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Brewer-Berres, Michael. “Our New Wonder Woman is a Zionist.” The Odyssey, www.theodysseyonline.com/wonder-woman-zionist. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Witt, Lara. “Wonder Woman is Your Zionist, White Feminist Hero.” Wear Your Voice, www.wearyourvoicemag.com/more/entertainment/gal-gadot-wonder-woman-white-feminist-hero. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Ziyad, Hari. “The Success of Wonder Woman Proves Liberals Are Okay With Imperialism As Long As Its Led By A (White) Woman.” Afropunk, www.afropunk.com/profiles/blogs/the-success-of-wonder-woman-proves-liberals-are-ok-with. Accessed 11 June 2017.
Denny III, Lowell B. “The radical root of Wonder Woman.” People’s World, www.peoplesworld.org/article/the-radical-roots-of-wonder-woman/. Accessed 11 June 2017.
 See <<www.globalresearch.ca/ethnic-cleansing-in-palestine/5545952>> and www.electronicintifada.net/content/palestine-2007-genocide-gaza-ethnic-cleansing-west-bank/6673 and, finally <www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2015/05/ethnic-cleansing-palestine-150514130231067.html>